Ranade SC, Chou L, Wang T, Harris AHS, Sabine Girod
Objective: Several female sub-populations of the healthcare industry, including radiologists, radiology technicians, and orthopedic surgeons, display an increased prevalence of breast cancer. Female plastic surgeons have a similar exposure to possible risk factors such as radiation exposure, late parturition, and overnight shifts. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the risk of breast cancer and overall cancer in female plastic surgeons.
Methods: A two-page survey designed to collect data on respondent demographics, cancer incidence and exposure to social and occupational risk factors as identified in the current literature was mailed to 612 currently practicing female plastic surgeons identified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Prevalence rates for breast cancer and cancer in general were calculated. Only melanoma and internal cancers that were diagnosed within 15 years of the survey date were included, enabling us to compare the results with data from the National Institute’s Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER 11) Program. Standardized prevalence ratios (SPR), confidence intervals, and exact p-values were calculated.
Results: Fourteen of the 352 respondents had been diagnosed with cancer, including three breast cancer cases, within 15 years preceeding the survey. These numbers are not signficantly lower than the expected prediction of 16 cancer and six breast cancer cases, based on the sex and race-specific prevalences in the general U.S. population. SPRs were 0.89 [95%CI: 0.49 to 1.5] for all cancers and 0.54 [95%CI: 0.11, 1.57] for breast cancer.
Conclusion: Despite similarities to subpopulations with increased breast and overall cancer prevalence, the subpopulation of female plastic surgeons had no evdience of excess cancers compared to age and race-adjusted women in the general US population.